Make Sure Your Home Life Matches Your Theology
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
I’ve spent many years thinking about Christian parenting and discipleship. Over the last 28 years, I’ve read…shall we say…many books on child raising and education. (My overflowing bookcases tell the story! Sharing a few favs at the bottom of this post.)
Now that most of my children are grown and married, I find myself looking into the eyes of my grandchildren and thinking about their formation. What will reach their hearts? How can I connect with this one? I look for clues in their little vocabularies. One tells the facts as they are. One considers and is relational. One feels and hugs. This reiterates the obvious to me that children are uniquely made by God and every one is different and connection happens in differing ways. Even with all their little personalities, they are all fundamentally moved by what they think will make them happy in the moment.
It’s important to recognize that what we love (vs what we say we believe) drives our action. If a child loves ice cream, eating his dinner is a necessary action to acquiring his desired dessert. If a woman wants to drop ten pounds, she’ll have to stop herself from overeating in order to reach that dress size.
This may seem obvious, but too often as Christian parents we approach child training and formation in mainly “heady” ways–as though filling the mind with Christian facts will do the trick. So we roll up our sleeves and teach correct doctrine, make sure they memorize the catechism, we tell Bible stories. All good things for sure as God commands us to tell the next generation about God!
But telling the next generation is more than words. We tell by our life. We invite our children and grandchildren into a shared experience of belonging and the love in a family, a community that cares enough to help AND to warn when necessary.
When the child’s learned theology (what their parents teach them) and lived experience (how their parents live )are on two opposite ends of the pole, this is a major problem.
Right doctrine may tell them what they need to know to direct them into a right relationship with God, but right living will help them to experience kindgom living in your home as a small foretaste of heaven.
God places children in families to be part of a wholistic experience, a community/group who are partakers of the divine nature. Experientially it means that if you follow God’s ways, your child’s home experience will be something they will enjoy. I don’t mean that they’ll love every rule or aspect, but that they will want to be home because it’s the best place to be! It’s the place where they find truth bound together with love, acceptance, encouragement, rest, food, community, fun.
A wise mother/grandmother will harness this truth, that we are all lovers as she goes about creating an atmosphere of her home for the children/grandkids to partake in.
Think about it in terms of STRAWBERRIES. I’ve planted strawberries all around my herb garden for my grandchildren to enjoy. If I want my grandchildren to love strawberries, I don’t take out the Farm Bureau magazine and give them the reasons why Vitamin C is good for you and why they need the antioxidants that berries provide. That would be um…boring. If I want my grandchildren to love strawberries, and to understand that they are divine and delicious, I will sit with them and dip fresh strawberries into whipped cream and let the taste and see that strawberries and cream ( or ice cream or chocolate fondue!) is something to anticipate and enjoy!
And though my children and grandchildren do need to know the facts about the gospel, they can also experience the joy of life lived according to the gospel to see the difference. What we practice, how we walk, tells a story about what we love and what we believe to be worthy. Christian living shows the goodness of God and spares the child from the effects of many sins.
Do you believe that living according to God’s Ways is the path to ultimate happiness? Do you believe that God’s ways are best? If so, you’ll make it your aim to get to know the God of the Bible and live as though He knows what He’s talking about. He made you and this life and His reigning presence is the path to joy and peace.
So dear friend, what kind of story is your home and life telling? Are you presenting the gospel as a joyous good thing? Do you need to renew your mind and reinforce your will so you can control your passions and live for Christ?
Next time we’ll discuss the number one culprit for poisoning the atmosphere of your home.
FAVORTITE BOOKS FOR MOTHERS: (With links to Amazon)